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厄爾曼:青春不是年華,而是心境。


《青春》的作者塞謬爾·厄爾曼(1840—1920)是位猶太人,出生於德國,1851年隨家人移民到美國密西西比。他雖以教育家和社會活動家而聞名於世,但在文學創作方面也很有才華。他的《青春》因為麥克阿瑟將軍的推崇而廣為傳頌。這篇短文寫於20世紀初,它不足500字,但傾倒了世間為數眾多的精英,使他們產生著與日俱增的崇敬乃至膜拜的心情。
《青春》一文,僅寥寥400字:

青春不是年華,而是心境;青春不是桃面、丹唇、柔膝,而是深沉的意志、恢宏的想像、熾熱的感情;青春是生命的深泉湧流。
青春氣貫長虹,勇銳蓋過怯懦,進取壓倒苟安。如此銳氣,二十年後生有之,六旬男子則更多見。年歲有加,並非垂老;理想丟棄,方墮暮年。
歲月悠悠,衰微只及肌膚;熱忱拋卻,頹唐必至靈魂。憂煩、惶恐、喪失自信,定使心靈扭曲,意氣如灰。
無論年屆花甲,抑或二八芳齡,心中皆有生命之歡樂,奇跡之誘惑,孩童般天真久盛不衰。
人的心靈應如浩淼瀚海,只有不斷接納美好、希望、歡樂、勇氣和力量的百川,才能青春永駐、風華長存。
一旦心海枯竭,銳氣便被冰雪覆蓋,玩世不恭、自暴自棄油然而生,即便年方二十,實已垂垂老矣;然則只要虛懷若谷,讓喜悅、達觀、仁愛充盈其間,你就有望在八十高齡告別塵寰時仍覺年輕。

[spoiler title=”英文原文”]Samuel Ullman
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonders, the unfailing appetite for what’s next and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart, there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, courage and power from man and from the infinite, so long as you are young.
When your aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you’ve grown old, even at 20; but as long as your aerials are up, to catch waves of optimism, there’s hope you may die young at 80.
[/spoiler]此文一出,不脛而走,以致代代相傳。二戰期間,麥克阿瑟與日軍角逐於太平洋時,將此文鑲於鏡框,擺在寫字檯上,以資自勉。
日本戰敗,此文由東京美軍總部傳出,有人將它灌成錄音帶,廣為銷售;甚至有人將它揣在衣兜裡,隨時研讀。
多年後,厄爾曼之孫、美國電影發行協會主席喬納斯·羅森菲爾德訪問日本,席間談及《青春》一文,一位與宴者隨手掏出《青春》,恭敬地說:「乃翁文章,鄙人總不離身。」主客皆萬分感動。
1988年,日本數百名流聚會東京、大阪,紀念厄爾曼的這篇文章。松下電器公司元老松下幸之助感慨地說:「二十年來,《青春》與我朝夕相伴,它是我的座右銘。」歐洲一位政界名宿也極力推薦:「無論男女老幼,要想活得風光,就得拜讀《青春》。」


點評:厄爾曼並非哲人,名不見經傳,但《青春》一文,卻撥動了不少人的心弦,使人如聽晨鐘,如聞暮鼓,朝夕自警自策。只因為它真正說出了關於青春的秘密。
————選自《哈佛家訓》

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